Article 4 Directions - Houses in Multiple Occupation

Planning permission is not normally required to convert a dwelling (Use Class C3) into a small house in multiple occupation (HMO) (Use Class C4) provided that the property accommodates no more than six unrelated individuals. Such changes of use are normally ‘permitted development’. Changes of use to larger HMOs, accommodating 7 or more unrelated individuals normally requires planning permission.

Local Planning Authorities can withdraw ‘permitted development rights’ through Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 (as amended). The effect of such a Direction is that planning permission is then needed for the withdrawn permitted development once the Direction comes into force.

Article 4 Directions in areas of Crewe

On the 6 October 2020, the Council made three non-immediate Article 4 Directions for HMOs covering the streets around Nantwich Road, Hungerford Road and West Street in Crewe.  The Directions remove permitted development rights for the change of use of a dwelling (Use Class C3) to a small HMO (Use Class C4) once they come into force on the 1 November 2021.

Why have the Directions been made?

The majority of the Borough’s HMO s are located within Crewe and these are concentrated around the Nantwich Road, Hungerford Road and West Street areas of the town.

The council’s cabinet report and evidence paper (Appendix D) highlighted a coincidence of environmental, economic and social issues within areas with high concentrations of HMO s – for example increased levels of fly-tipping. The Article 4 Directions will enable the council to better monitor and manage the growth of new HMO s within these areas via the planning application process.


Notice (PDF, 64KB) was given of the making of the Directions by press and site notice and representations were invited to be made about the making of the Directions between 19 October 2020 and 11 January 2021.

All feedback received was then taken into account before a decision was taken to confirm the three Directions by the Portfolio Holder for Planning on the 9 April 2021. 


The Directions were confirmed by the Council on the 4 June 2021. A copy of each direction, including a map defining each area and the confirmation notice can be viewed below.

Once the Directions come into force on the 1 November 2021, the change of use of a dwellinghouse (C3) to a house in multiple occupation (C4) shall not be carried out in the Direction areas, unless planning permission is first granted for this change of use.

The Directions do not apply retrospectively. Any dwelling (Use Class C3) in use as a small HMO (Use Class C4) before the Directions take effect will not be affected. However, it would be in the interests of landlords and property owners to keep records to demonstrate that dwellings are were in use as HMOs before the Directions take effect in the event that this is later queried.

If landlords and property owners require written confirmation that a dwelling is in current use as a HMO (Use Class C4) then the appropriate procedure for doing so would be to submit an application for a Lawful Development Certificate.

Other planning policy documents

Alongside the Article 4 Directions cited above, the following documents are also relevant to development proposals involving HMOs :

  • Houses in Multiple Occupation Supplementary Planning Document (HMO SPD). The HMO SPD  was adopted on the 9 September 2021 and you can find out more about this on our supplementary planning documents webpage.
  • Cheshire East Site Allocations and Development Policies Document (SADPD). This is the second part of the Cheshire East Local Plan and includes draft policy HOU4: Houses in Multiple Occupation. The Revised Publication Draft SADPD was submitted to the Secretary of State for examination on the 29 April 2021. You can find out the latest news about the SADPD on our Cheshire East Local Plan webpage.

If you have any queries, you can contact the Strategic Planning Team at: or by leaving a message on 01270 685893 and we will respond as soon as possible. Our Article 4 Direction Privacy notice explains how we will use personal information when making Article 4 Directions.